Last week it happened again. At the beginning of the day, I went out to my car for something and accidentally locked myself out of the building. I do this about once a year. In fact, most of us do. There were two people inside– one, like me, who couldn’t hear, and one who could. Just as I rang the buzzer, SHE pulled in, then teetered her way across the parking lot, keys in hand.
“Why did you bother buzzing?” she screeches, “Margie is just as DEAF as YOU. She can’t hear anything!” She punctuates this last with a final scoff just to make sure I understand how inconvenient it is to work with deaf people. I explain Margie isn’t alone, and that I had hoped Sue would hear it, but that she had not. I am tempted to explain that I actually CAN hear the door buzzer because my of my good low tones, but I don’t feel like going into the details of my audiogram–yet again– that early in the morning. Experience tells me she doesn’t listen anyway.
I wonder how many of you work with someone like this? Most every office has at least one difficult person. We tip toe on egg shells around them. They take offense if you offer help, because they’re “CAPABLE OF DOING IT!” But they also get annoyed when no one offers to help — “FINE! I’LL DO IT MYSELF!”
Later that afternoon someone wants to speak to her while she is taking her lunch break. I cringe. She’s still in the building, eating in the lunch room. The message comes via a third party who mumbles. In the past, she has thrown fits when people haven’t fetched her from her lunch break to discuss “IMPORTANT BUSINESS!” But she also throws a fit when her lunch is interrupted. None of us ever knows when it’s important enough to interrupt her break, so we always do. Can’t win.
I tentatively stick my head in the door and say, “Carl needs you.” She slams down her book and glares. A few moments later she sniffs past my desk on her way to meet Carl. Five minutes later she’s stomping back, then sneers over her reading glasses, “It was LAURA, not Carl.” She says LAAUURRAA in drawn out syllables to emphasize my stupidity in mixing up the two names. I shrug. Thank God she isn’t my boss. I’d quit.
This is indeed a difficult person. I’m not the only one who feels this way, but I am targetted more often than others because of my hearing loss. It gives her some extra fodder to work with.
A desk mate across the way begins to chuckle. “SHE’S having a day, isn’t she?”
“I thought it was Carl,” I say. “I don’t do it on purpose, ya know?”
“You don’t do what on purpose?” she asks.
“I don’t mishear things on purpose.”
“You didn’t,” she says. “It WAS Carl that wanted her. . . and then Laura.”
It’s bad enough to mishear things, but to get blamed for mishearing when I heard right somehow seems worse. And yet, given the choice I’d never exchange my hearing loss for her anger problem.